Wednesday, August 31, 2011

To the Rude Shopper at Michael's: Seriously? Are You Really That Important?

So I'm in Michael's yesterday. The place is pretty dead; a few employees stocking the shelves, only a handful of shoppers and one register open. No need for more than one. There is a couple slightly down the aisle from the open register, and one lady finishing up paying for her stuff. I'm standing in line...such as it is...with my purchase.

There isn't really a marked place to stand in line. People just kind of hang around and wait for a free register. (Methinks by Halloween time they should do something about that because of my experience yesterday, of which I am about to tell you. People can be pushy and demanding, especially around the holidays when they are in too much of a hurry to do all their stuff that's more important than anyone else's stuff, or more important anything else in life for that matter. Insert sarcasm font. Most people need to be told what to do and where to go. I'm sorry if I am insulting someone's intelligence, but I've worked in retail. At a craft store. During Halloween. I know whereof I speak write.)

Anyway, I'm standing there, minding my own business, not in any hurry to do anything or go anywhere, but finished in the store and needing to pay.

I can hear the couple in the aisle approach as they walk up and stop directly behind me, ready to pay for their stuff. They are talking about how the guy who owns Michael's got into a car crash and died (???? I have no idea about this) and generally chatting together. Ho hum. The lady in front is counting out her change. Bees are buzzing lazily.

No, not really about the bees, but you need to understand that the atmosphere is very quiet and relaxed and no one is in a huge hurry but just going about their business with no rush or stress.

Suddenly the woman who is part of the couple behind me jumps into my line of sight and says to me, rudely, loudly, and in an annoyed voice, "Excuse me but were were in line in front of you," to which I reply, "Oh, sorry. I didn't think you were in line, go ahead." My first cue that she was an angry person (or schizophrenic!) should have been her sudden shift in demeanor from chatting with her friend to indignation that I was in front of her. Her attitude toward me would have been more appropriate if I had turned around and slapped her across the face for no apparent reason. Seriously. Granted, I wasn't paying very close attention to her personally, and I certainly wasn't slapping her across her face, but it is entirely possible that she WAS in line and had stepped aside for a moment and I didn't realize it. No biggie. I apologize and step aside so she can pass in front of me but she continues to be argumentative and says that the lady in front of both of us could "contest" that she was before me.

I don't have the heart to tell her that if the lady "contested" her assertion that she was before me, then she would have been disagreeing or confirming that I was indeed first.

According to this source, the definition of "contest" in verb form is this:

To call into question and take an active stand against; dispute or challenge

Semantics. It's my thing. 

But whatever.

I didn't tell her my whole mind, but I did tell her that I really couldn't care less if she went before me and to be my guest. My actual words were, "I really don't care. Go ahead." Then she turned on her heel and marched out of the store, (hello, schizophrenia!) leaving her bewildered counterpart to pay for their purchase while trying to hide from embarrassment.

I suppose I was a bit rude to her in return, but at least I didn't tell her what I was thinking....that I felt sorry for her if she felt she was such an important person that she had to barge into line in front of one person who had one item to pay for in a store that was anything BUT busy.

OK. That's really all I have to say. That's it. No point to this post, really. Nothing more to see here. Go back to your lives, citizens. (Name that movie.)

PS Follow me! Tell your friends! A fun giveaway when I reach 25 followers! (Small potatoes I know, compared to some fabulous blogs that have like millions of people reading them daily, but I'm not one to despise small beginnings!)

Image credit

Sunday, August 28, 2011

I'm Back!

(The image to the left is the home page of Into-Africa, a charity I support and love. Please feel free to click through and find out what Into-Africa is all about. Make a donation if you feel inspired to do so. Those of you who know me know that I almost never promote charities or ask for donations to anything in particular, but this is an exception! Into-Africa is run by a friend of ours and I totally and completely endorse what this charity is doing in the nation of Sierra Leone and other nations in West Africa. Truly exciting stuff, with eternally lasting effect!)

I'm back.

I've been doing a few things this past week:

  • Traveling to England and back for a funeral. 
  • Planning and purchasing all the materials needed to make my daughter's wedding veil, requiring multiple trips to fabric stores and phone calls to locate trim that has been discontinued. Meh.
  • Changing my mind about how I want to make the veil and locating receipts for returns, including the discontinued trim. 
  • Thoroughly cleaning my house and patio including digging out at least a zillion calla lily bulbs that have multiplied and divided on their own all over the beds in my patio. A previous tenant planted them and I can't get rid of them. They are evil.
  • Starting to plan all my fall sewing for gifts and holiday decor including Christmas stockings. This year I want to do new ones for all my fam and I'll be doing one more for my (soon-to-be) son-in-law! Love that!
  • Looking at a pile of sewing I need to do for fund raising for Into-Africa. (My sewing machine will be smokin' hot next week! I've got to get it finished and mailed. It's been so long since I made the commitment to do it that my integrity is on the line!)
  • Working out daily. 
  • Eating carefully to fuel my workouts and provide energy but not over eating or indulging in things that don't accommodate my fitness goals. This actually takes more planning that one would think. 
This is all a joy to me. Even the funeral. It was a family reunion of sorts, as the man who passed away was someone we've known for many many years, a member of a church we pastored in England. Sad for his family and those of us who loved him to lose him, but he is with Jesus and we will all be reunited forever one day!

I have been busy, it's all good.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Deluded. Maybe.

I won't be posting for a bit...I'll be away from my computer until next week, but then I'll be back and I'll tell you about how things are going post two weeks notice!

I am deluding myself that my life is some exciting reality show that the whole world is interested in.




If I know I'm deluding myself is is still a delusion?

At any rate, I'll see ya'all next week!

By the way, why is reality TV so popular? Do we really have such lame lives that we have to find excitement in the trials and joys of other people's lives? Does this apply to certain types of blogs? Hmm.......

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Please, Sir, I want some more.

Name that classic. A prize to the winner. Umm. Just kidding. No prize yet. But I am thinking about  a giveaway drawing when I reach 25 followers! Stay tuned!

As promised, here is another out of this world quinoa recipe.

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans, Avocado and Cumin-Lime Dressing

For the salad:
   1 T olive oil
   1 C dry quinoa
   1 3/4 C chicken stock
   1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
   1 whole avocado, sliced
   1 handful cherry tomatoes, quartered
   1/2 red onion, diced
   Several cloves minced garlic
   1/2 red bell pepper, chopped into chunks
   Small handful fresh cilantro, chopped

For the dressing:
   1 whole lime, juiced
   1/2 T olive oil
   1/2 t cumin
    salt to taste

1. Warm the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat and sauté the garlic and oil until garlic is golden. Add quinoa and stock, bring to a boil, turn down and simmer with lid on for 20 minutes.
2. While quinoa is cooking, prepare all the other ingredients. Prepare the dressing by combining ingredients and whisking briskly. Adjust salt as necessary.
3. When quinoa has finished cooking, remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Add all the other ingredients except avocado and dressing and toss. Serve warm or cold, garnished with avocado slices.

Sometimes I'll top this with chicken strips, alternating with the avocado slices so it looks pretty.

Next time I make this I will try to remember to take a picture and edit this post to add it. For now, the above image will have to do. Its very similar.

I found the original recipe on PW's Tasty Kitchen site. Can't seem to find it now, though. Good thing I printed it! 

Image credit

PS I'm working on figuring out how to post recipes in printable form. If anyone knows how to do that, I'm all ears!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Quinoa: a girl's best friend. Way better than diamonds.

Is that even said anymore? That diamonds are a girl's best friend? I hope not's SO not true!  I suppose quinoa isn't really a girl's best friend either...but it makes for a good title.


Have you ever eaten quinoa? It's a grain, grown mostly in South America. It has a very high protein content, for a grain. Here's some information from an oh, so reliable source. (This would be a good place to use that sarcasm font.) I could seriously live on the stuff. That is not written in a sarcasm font!

My soon-to-be son-in-law taught me how to cook it. Basically it's cooked like rice, but mine always turned out mushy until he showed me what to do. In the interest of paying it forward and community spirit, I now give you his method of cooking quinoa:

By the way, we don't measure the ingredients other than the quinoa and liquid, so you'll need to eyeball it all and adjust for your personal taste.

Basic Quinoa Recipe

Lots of garlic cloves, I use about 8, but then I LOVE garlic, minced
Several T olive oil
1/4 C Braggs Liquid Amino Acids (available in most good grocery stores and health food stores)
1 T, more or less, of dried basil or oregano, or whatever herb you like
1/1/2 C quinoa
2 1/2 C water

What to do:
Sauté a bunch of minced garlic cloves (maybe 8?--enough for a couple of Tablespoons of minced garlic) in several Tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet until golden. Toss the Braggs  and the herbs in there too. Don't let it burn. There are few things in life worse than burned garlic.  (Slivered red onion is good here too. Or maybe some chopped red pepper; any raw veggie would be good added now.)

When the garlic is golden add the dry quinoa and immediately the water.

Boil this mixture for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add any leftover cooked veggies you like. I'm thinking broccoli or chopped spinach, but whatever you like works, and turn the heat to low. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or so, checking once in a while to make sure all the liquid isn't boiled away too soon. You don't want to lift the lid too often though, because you want the steam to stay inside. Add more water if necessary in 1/4 to 1/2 cup increments. The quinoa is done when the outer ring around the grain separates from the grain itself and you can see  the little circular rims clearly, like little tiny white...well...I want to say worms, but the visual for that isn't very appetizing. So try not to visualize that, but you need the outer rings to come away from the grain. You can refer to the image at the top of this post. It shows a bit of what I'm talking about.

That's it! Yummy by itself or with any meat. You can also poach an egg right in the quinoa before all the water boils away and it makes a delicious and super nutritious breakfast. Or lunch. Or dinner. Or snack.

I'll post another quinoa recipe tomorrow that is O.U.T. O.F. T.H.I.S. W.O.R.L.D.

Stay tuned!

Image credit (click on this and it will give you another recipe too!)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Fashionably Late

I am late to the party....but I finally joined in. Lots of beautiful images and a fun place to keep track of things that are inspiring. Click on the icon to find me on Pinterest. I'm just getting started but it's a great way to waste time get inspired and save images of things you want to remember. (Icon also in my sidebar to the right.)

Follow Me on Pinterest

But be's addicting! 

Thaaaaaat's all folks! I have websites to visit, images to pin and time to waste, important things to do!

Image from pinterest.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


I think one of the reasons I love the poem Fog by Carl Sandburg is that it creates such a beautiful image with so few words. I love Haiku for the same reason. I think I'm a minimalist at heart. Really. I'll be posting about this soon.

I came across this recently and the post spoke to me on many levels. Please click over and enjoy.

Image credit: I found this image by doing a Google search for "fog"....not sure where it came from originally, but I imagine there are zillions of public domain pictures of the Golden Gate bridge covered in fog because I'm pretty sure the fog factory for the whole world is located in San Francisco.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Focus, and Focus Well

Sometime after all the dust of Christmas begins to settle and the New Year is on the horizon most of us look back at the previous year, take stock, evaluate, regroup and make some goals for the upcoming year. It's a good idea to keep these things in mind, maybe even in written form somewhere, so we don't forget them, and revisit them from time to time. Life starts to happen and even spiral out of control sometimes and we forget our goals if we haven't noted them somewhere.

With that in mind, this being a bit past mid-year, it's time for me to take another look.

This year, instead of making lofty goals that I may or may not achieve (probably wouldn't achieve if the truth be told, and then I would feel bad and flog myself and feel like a loser) I chose a word that would be my theme, the hinge pin of sorts, for 2011. My idea was that this word would color all the decisions I would make throughout the year. It needed to be something that would encourage me to continue to grow mentally, emotionally, and spiritually (not physically, thank you very much! I've grown way too much in that regard and need to shrink! LOL). It needed to be something simple that would encompass the areas of my life that I wanted to address over the months of this year.

The word I chose was focus.

Where is my focus? Do I have clear goals and purpose? What is that purpose? Does it line up with God's purpose for me? Are the things in life that I'm pursuing furthering that purpose? What do I want to be doing in December of 2011? How have I been productive? What exactly has my life produced over the year?

I made a decision to simplify my life in any way I could, and dedicate myself wholeheartedly to whatever I was doing. The scripture tells us in Colossians 3:23, "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men..." .  I wanted every single decision I made, whether that be concerning my attitude, thoughts, or actions, to be purposeful and intentional.

This is a huge challenge here in the San Francisco Bay Area. It's an area dedicated to materialism and commercialism. Culture and lifestyle here is a one hundred and eighty degree shift from living in southern Spain, the most recent place we lived prior to here. People in Spain enjoy their lives. They aren't caught up with 'stuff,' or making more and more and more money. They are generally content with what they have, they work to pay the bills and provide for needs, but they aren't running here and there and everywhere consumed with the rat race of life. It's a very relaxed, happy, family oriented culture. It's a much slower and enjoyable ritmo de vida. I can't speak for other areas of Spain, but where we lived, on the southern coast, right on the shore of the Mediterranean, people had a passion and love of life that I rarely see here. In the summer time the beaches were filled every day by mid afternoon. Folks took care of the necessary affairs of life as quickly as they could, and then spent the rest of the day enjoying being alive. They didn't have a lot of 'stuff,' and didn't feel a need for it. They weren't so consumed with making their way in life that they forgot to enjoy life!

What a sad legacy it would be to have lived all my life striving to do and have more and more and more, so much so that I forget what's really important. Am I enjoying my relationship with Jesus, or has what I do for Him become an obligation? Am I enjoying my family, or have I allowed so much selfishness into my heart that they irritate me? Am I noticing the small joys of daily life or am I too busy being busy that I forget those things? Are my friends more important than my stuff? What am I focusing on? To what am I applying myself?

Did I notice the way the edges of the clouds turn silvery pink right before the sun comes up? Did I notice the way my cat runs to greet me when she hears my car drive up (I know...she's a weird cat. She sometimes thinks shes a dog. She even plays fetch)? Did I enjoy the process of creating a healthy tasty meal or just throw something on the table so we could hurry up and eat and move on to the next thing? Did I help that young mother on the sidewalk trying to get her stroller over the curb and in the process meet someone new? What am I focusing on? I am guilty of letting all these and more totally pass me by, but this year I have been applying myself to focusing on the task and hand, completing it well, and living more in the present moment that wishing for something else.

I don't want to be so caught up in busyness that I forget to be content. That's really the issue right there. Is what I'm focusing on bringing contentment or is it making me wish for more and more and yet more? And do I focus completely on the current task and complete it well or am I so scattered that do a half job at everything? And perhaps the most important question of all: Is God pleased with the focus of my life?

'Cuz really, that's what life is all about anyway.

I'm not sure where the original image for the picture for this post came from, but I found it here.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Are you a follower?

Update 8/12: looks like the problem is solved. For now anyway! 
Update again later: Ok. Maybe it's not solved. Meh.

Apparently Blogger is having some trouble with the followers gadget. If you are following me (and if not I'd love it if you would!) please be patient. Your picture will appear again under Followers eventually.

I hope!

Seems to me that Blogger is having several issues lately. Let's hope they straighten them  all out soon!

Wading Through the Murky Waters of Gift Giving Etiquette...and Possibly Drowning

Updated to add a disclaimer: I wrote this post some time ago, before my daughter was engaged. She is getting married soon and she and her finance will be registering at a few places. It's a very practical thing to do, especially in this day and age when a young couple staring out has some genuine needs and often large financial roadblocks in the early days. It also relieves the person who genuinely wants to give a gift but doesn't know what to give. I get that, I don't have any problem with people who use registries, and I do use them on occasion for gift giving. Also, I'm sure there is a valid and legitimate counter point to everything you are about to read. My opinion doesn't change though. 

I have a little pet peeve.

I don't like gift registries.

You know...when someone is getting married or having a baby and the shower invitation comes with a note that the the bride or baby's mother is registered at XYZ stores...and then you go to the websites and there are a million and one things the person has chosen that they want. It makes me feel that gift giving is an obligation. Sort of like if I don't give a gift from the list then my gift won't be appreciated or something. I'm sure that's not the case with most people, and most folks consider it a convenience to pre-choose what they want, but I just don't like the message it sends.

Side note: I'm not so sure that all this "convenience" we live by is such a good thing anyway, but that's something for another post.

I'd much rather put some thought and consideration into the gift and choose something I think the recipient would like. I'm all for gift receipts...though I suppose that does cause the recipient the possible inconvenience of having to make an exchange. I can't help but think that's better though. Most places offer a 90 day return window. 90 days! That's three whole months! Certainly one could find time within 90 days to make an exchange or at least ask a friend to go the store to get a gift card for later use. If I were receiving the gift I'd rather that my guests have the luxury of giving me what they want to, if they want to! It's so much more personal. The whole registry thing is almost like saying, "You and I both know you are obligated to give me a gift at this momentous occasion in my life. Here's a list of what I want because I'm not willing to run the risk that you might pick something I don't like. Make your choice." What's that all about? Since when is gift giving an obligation anyway?

I had a look a the registry for the baby shower I will be attending and noticed that the new mother picked out some cute stuff...much of it with a monkey/ jungle theme. I made a baby quilt with monkey themed fabrics in lieu of purchasing a gift from the registry. I did wonder, as I was making it, if she'll like it, but I can tell you, if it were me, I'd MUCH rather receive a quilt that someone took time and hand made rather than some store bought cr@p. I'd appreciate the love and effort and time spent because I'd know they were thinking of me, and that's worth so much more than any gift anyway.

That, however, is a little quirk of mine. I'm totally not into "stuff." I don't even buy souvenirs when I travel. I take pictures instead. "Stuff" isn't my thing, but the thought is very important to me.

The quilt is pretty cute, though, if I do say so myself. ;-) ...and practically speaking, one does need a certain amount of "stuff" when one is having a baby. Though not as much as one might think...but again, another post.

The family to whom this gift if going are dear friends, and I don't mean any offense by complaining about the registry thing. I realize it's convenient for many, and it's the way things are generally done, but seriously? I was blessed beyond measure with some of the cutest and most imaginative gifts I've ever seen when my kids were born. That wouldn't have happened had I registered somewhere.

Ok. Enough whining. I guess I'm just old school when it comes to this.

Image credit

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Ongoing Saga of My Quilty Obsession

 Continuing in my current subject of all things quilty, I went on a reconnaissance mission yesterday. I had heard about a quilt shop located fairly close to where I live and when my husband asked me to do a freecycle pickup in that area I couldn't resist stopping to check it out. What a treasure! Loved it!  I was chatting with the nice lady there and telling her I am teaching myself to quilt. I inquired about classes and was intrigued by the long arm quilt classes they offer. Apparently after a one day class I will then be accredited and qualified to use their long arm for $12 an hour. The lady there says that once I'm in practice I could do a queen sized quilt in under three hours. That's a HUGE savings on sending it out to be professionally quilted (something I don't like the idea of anyway...if I'm making a quilt I kind of want to do the whole thing myself. Or maybe I don't know what I'm talking about. Only time will tell. I'm a purist and a newbie). It's also a huge savings in frustration of trying to quilt a queen sized quilt on my sewing machine at home. Tying a quilt is fine, but it's not always the look I'll be going for. So. Methinks a long arm class might be a good thing to put on my Christmas list. ;-)


I know it's only August. I'm just thinking ahead.

Maybe once I get my shop happening I'll pop a few quilts in there along with the other things I plan to stock. Hmmm....the wheels are turning.....

I also picked up a copy of Doodle Stitching The Motif Collection by Aimee Ray. I've been eyeing it for ages and found it for a reasonable price that I was willing to pay. Yay for reasonable prices (and 40% off coupons too)!

I'm such a tightwad. In a good way, of course! ;-)

Image credit

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Cat In a Quilt

A cat in a quilt. What could be better? I have the cat already. Just need to make the quilt!

I know. If you read my last post you'll know I'm slightly obsessed with quilts right now!

Found the picture here.